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Letter to the Editor: Questions about return flow credits to Lake Mead

This week’s Letter to the Editor discusses return flow credits to Lake Mead:

Return flow credits

Citizens are concerned about the city not returning wastewater to Lake Mead. SNWA wants the return flow credits but there is no infrastructure to allow the water to be returned. Why not?

The reason is that the treated water is not capable of being returned to the lake without additional treatment. Currently the treatment process is safely discharged to the desert or used for dust control. Dust control is an income to the city.

The one million gallons of treated wastewater that has been discharged to the El Dorado Valley for decades is re-charging the aquifer. The water is used by users on wells and supports desert flora and fauna. The water is not being wasted but is not contributing credits. How to change?

SNWA wants to help and proposed building a pumping station for $26M to $39M and proposed four alternatives to discharge the wastewater to the lake. All have merit! These alternatives were presented to the city and two were selected for investigation. Missing were the engineering costs, annual operation and maintenance costs, personnel needs and costs, annual replacements costs (equipment has a 20-year expected life). Why? Because these costs will have to be incorporated into the monthly bill that the residents have to pay to allow the return flow credits to be used.

There are numerous letters to the editor and public discussions of how high our utility costs are now. The added infrastructure has a cost. No one gets a free lunch!

Return flow credits need to be considered. In fact all the alternatives need to be investigated. Bottom line, what will be the monthly cost to the residents and business owners of our city? Until that is known the mayor and city council cannot accept or adopt any proposal.

Howard Analla

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